Diversity in Design

31 May 2021  •  10 min read


In this collection of articles, we look at why diversity matters in design and explore some of the steps designers and industry can take in making design accessible to all so we can reap its full benefits in changing the world.

5 Ways Inclusion Fuels Innovation
Kat Holmes, Mismatch

Broadening the practice of design can bring about more innovative and impactful solutions, says Kat Holmes who authored the book Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design. She highlights three examples—the keyboard, medical delivery systems and touchscreens—that prove how working with excluded groups can help designers develop new solutions. Read the article here.

Before and After
Maryam Fanni, Futuress

Design solutions are often mired in flawed dualisms as expressed in the popular “Before and After” format, says graphic designer Maryam Fanni. Instead of focusing on a “one-size-fits-all solution”, designers should adopt a more relational approach where they work and withthe diverse practices, cultures and people that make up our world. Read the article here.

Invisible Women
Ted Talks

Car crash test dummies are based on the average men. So are many medical research studies. The result is a world designed without women in mind, says writer Caroline Cried Perez in her book Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Today, this is changing as corporations increasingly recognise how gender equality can maximise business performance, says Sandhya Devanathan, the country managing director for Facebook Singapore.  Click here to view the video and here to read more on Gender Diversity.

What does it mean to Decolonize Design?
Anoushka Khandwala, Eye on Design

Design today is neither neutral nor universal but contains many inherent cultural biases. Graphic designer Anoushka Khandwala explains how “shattering the familiar” can help designers become more sensitive to other ways of knowing and create for people of different cultures, backgrounds and needs. One example can be seen through various culturally-sensitive voice assistants as documented by Singapore-based user experience design studio 55 Minutes. Read more on Eye on Design here and here about 55 minutes.

Diversity and Design: How can we shape a more inclusive industry?
Bronwen Rees, Uxplanet

Ready to embrace diversity? Here are some practical steps for designers and the industry to get started on creating a more inclusive design industry. As part of its SkillsFramework for Design, the DesignSingapore Council has also created a “Cultural Sensitivity for Design” unit that outlines some of the knowledge, skill and abilities designers should have in this area. Read the article here.

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